#1 Posted by Hailinel (22720 posts) -

The concept Pseudo Non-Linear seems to be little more than a fancy way of saying that a game has a stage selection feature. You have to visit all of the areas required, but you aren't restricted to a set order to proceed. Pseudo Non-Linear should be deleted and made an alias of Level Selection.

#2 Posted by iAmJohn (6091 posts) -

Makes sense to me.

#3 Posted by mosespippy (3752 posts) -

They seem like two different things to me. I'm thinking specifically on Prince of Persia 2008 where it is essentially an open world game made up of four sections of five levels each. You don't select the level that you want to play like you do in a stage selection; you just go there. Dark Souls is kind of similar. You can choose what section you want to go in and you can do them in any order but there is no stage selection. I think Stage Selection basically requires a menu screen where you select the stage while Pseudo Non-Linear is semi open world.

#4 Posted by Hailinel (22720 posts) -

@mosespippy said:

They seem like two different things to me. I'm thinking specifically on Prince of Persia 2008 where it is essentially an open world game made up of four sections of five levels each. You don't select the level that you want to play like you do in a stage selection; you just go there. Dark Souls is kind of similar. You can choose what section you want to go in and you can do them in any order but there is no stage selection. I think Stage Selection basically requires a menu screen where you select the stage while Pseudo Non-Linear is semi open world.

Isn't that more or less an example of a hub world or open world, though? In Super Mario 64, you're limited to where you can go by the number of stars you have, but the idea of entering individual levels through portraits is still just a method of stage selection. Level selection doesn't require you to use a selection menu screen, the game just needs to offer you the choice.

#5 Posted by Pazy (2553 posts) -

@Hailinel said:

@mosespippy said:

They seem like two different things to me. I'm thinking specifically on Prince of Persia 2008 where it is essentially an open world game made up of four sections of five levels each. You don't select the level that you want to play like you do in a stage selection; you just go there. Dark Souls is kind of similar. You can choose what section you want to go in and you can do them in any order but there is no stage selection. I think Stage Selection basically requires a menu screen where you select the stage while Pseudo Non-Linear is semi open world.

Isn't that more or less an example of a hub world or open world, though? In Super Mario 64, you're limited to where you can go by the number of stars you have, but the idea of entering individual levels through portraits is still just a method of stage selection. Level selection doesn't require you to use a selection menu screen, the game just needs to offer you the choice.

Its part of an open world but I think the distinction is that non-linear games let you choose where to go at any times where as Pseudo non-linear present a small selection of choices which you are required to complete to unlock another set of choices. Its a very subtle diffrent and im not sure if its worth its own page but its subtle diffrent.

#6 Posted by believer258 (11048 posts) -

@Hailinel said:

@mosespippy said:

They seem like two different things to me. I'm thinking specifically on Prince of Persia 2008 where it is essentially an open world game made up of four sections of five levels each. You don't select the level that you want to play like you do in a stage selection; you just go there. Dark Souls is kind of similar. You can choose what section you want to go in and you can do them in any order but there is no stage selection. I think Stage Selection basically requires a menu screen where you select the stage while Pseudo Non-Linear is semi open world.

Isn't that more or less an example of a hub world or open world, though? In Super Mario 64, you're limited to where you can go by the number of stars you have, but the idea of entering individual levels through portraits is still just a method of stage selection. Level selection doesn't require you to use a selection menu screen, the game just needs to offer you the choice.

Hub worlds are where you choose what level to go to by walking there or walking through a portal, like in Super Mario 64 or Prince of Persia.

Open worlds are where there are (more or less) no "levels", you just go wherever.

Stage selection is where you pick your level on a menu screen.

At least those are my thoughts. "Psuedo non-linear", however, definitely sounds like something that should be removed.

#7 Posted by mosespippy (3752 posts) -

@Hailinel: I feel like a hub world is a central level that other levels connect to and is not the concept of choosing where you want to go. I guess it depends on the definition of a level. Is a level a set of geometry that you play on or does it also include the objectives. In something like GTA or Infamous you can choose which mission to do next but often they take place in geometry that was already playable. In that case the Pseudo Non Linearity is the set of objectives that you chose to tackle next. Is choosing a mission the same thing as stage selection? I feel like stage selection implies choosing a geometric area.

#8 Posted by iAmJohn (6091 posts) -

To the contrary, I'd argue that Prince of Persia 2008 epitomizes exactly what It's an open-world game in the sense that there's no loading between areas and no forced progression until the very end (in other words, you can start on one area then decide to go to a different area without hindering progress in the first), but it's a more organic coat of paint on level selection. Each area is essentially its own unique spoke on a map based around its own unique set of mechanics (well, it's own unique Elika power at least) that you won't use in any of the other three areas. They're levels by any other name; you just access them through exploration of the world instead of through a menu and without the game acknowledging them as individual stages.

There's a case to be made for a concept that unifies level-based games like PoP08 or Dark Souls or Mega Man or what have you that allow you to proceed in whatever order you want--mainly to separate it from your average Mario or the Scott Pilgrim game where you can select whatever stage you like but they're unlocked in a linear fashion--but I don't think something as aggressively nondescriptive as "pseudo non-linear" (how does something pretend to be non-linear when it is actually linear?) is the way to do it.

#9 Posted by mosespippy (3752 posts) -

@iAmJohn said:

(how does something pretend to be non-linear when it is actually linear?)

From the Pseudo Non Linear wiki page:

In a game that presents multiple options of how to proceed, Pseudo Non-Linear is when all options must be completed in order to proceed further. In other words it gives you to illusion of choice but there will ultimately be a set path.

Pseudo Non linearity is the process of having to complete all options in oder to advance. Stage Selection is having the ability to choose a level. There is some overlap but they are different concepts. Tony Hawk has level selection and is not pseudo non linear; GTA has Pseudo Non Linearity but no stage selection (unless you consider mission selection the same as level selection).

#10 Posted by DeF (4692 posts) -

Pseudo Non-Linear as a name definitely isn't sufficient. This discussion proves that.

So what kinds do we have?

-Straight up stage select like in a Mega Man game

-Stages unlocked from a hub world in a linear fashion but with objectives that can be pursued in a non-linear way like in the 3D Mario games or Banjo Kazooie

-Hub world based but with freely explorable sub-areas like in the Prince of Persia 2008 example

Where does something like the original Legend of Zelda fall? The world is freely explorable and you can tackle the dungeons in any order you like. This is true to a lesser degree in some of the sequels.

What about Mass Effect? Is it basically the Mario 64 model? You unlock missions linearly (is that a word?) but the order in which to complete them is up to you. They're also basically just "levels" you select with a single objective in most cases.

The GTA games feature an open world. But parts of it are locked off until you progress in the story. Missions also become available in a linear fashion (aside from random side missions).

Far Cry 2, Crysis (haven't played those yet myself so I'm basing this off of hearsay): Their islands are fully explorable at all times, right? Or are places locked behind story gates?

Is it useful to establish a base with a pure example? Would Minecraft be the purest form of non-linearity and open worldness at the same time?

Can or should something be able to be "open world" and "pseudo non-linear" at the same time?

Can this "pseudo non-linearity" concept be rolled into another concept and thus explained better?

#11 Posted by Hailinel (22720 posts) -

@mosespippy said:

@iAmJohn said:

(how does something pretend to be non-linear when it is actually linear?)

From the Pseudo Non Linear wiki page:

In a game that presents multiple options of how to proceed, Pseudo Non-Linear is when all options must be completed in order to proceed further. In other words it gives you to illusion of choice but there will ultimately be a set path.

Pseudo Non linearity is the process of having to complete all options in oder to advance. Stage Selection is having the ability to choose a level. There is some overlap but they are different concepts. Tony Hawk has level selection and is not pseudo non linear; GTA has Pseudo Non Linearity but no stage selection (unless you consider mission selection the same as level selection).

You keep using this pseudo non-linear term as if it isn't ridiculous. If a game gives you a defined starting point, a defined end point, and an array of mid-points that can be tackled in a player-chosen order, it is still a linear experience. Whether it's Mega Man or PoP2008, it is expected that you complete all required actions before you get to the final sections of the game and beat it. The only difference is the shape the line takes from point to point.

#12 Posted by DeF (4692 posts) -

@Hailinel said:

@mosespippy said:

@iAmJohn said:

(how does something pretend to be non-linear when it is actually linear?)

From the Pseudo Non Linear wiki page:

In a game that presents multiple options of how to proceed, Pseudo Non-Linear is when all options must be completed in order to proceed further. In other words it gives you to illusion of choice but there will ultimately be a set path.

Pseudo Non linearity is the process of having to complete all options in oder to advance. Stage Selection is having the ability to choose a level. There is some overlap but they are different concepts. Tony Hawk has level selection and is not pseudo non linear; GTA has Pseudo Non Linearity but no stage selection (unless you consider mission selection the same as level selection).

You keep using this pseudo non-linear term as if it isn't ridiculous. If a game gives you a defined starting point, a defined end point, and an array of mid-points that can be tackled in a player-chosen order, it is still a linear experience. Whether it's Mega Man or PoP2008, it is expected that you complete all required actions before you get to the final sections of the game and beat it. The only difference is the shape the line takes from point to point.

That would leave very VERY few games to actually be non-linear. If you look at it this way, you'd have only games that make you play a later event in the narrative before an earlier event in the story--possibly even switching multiple times.

What would be an example for a non-linear game by that definition? I can't really think of one. At first, I wanted to say God of War 2 but even that doesn't really fit.

Something like Mega Man which lets you choose all stages right from the beginning in any order you like to me seems non-linear since you can switch around as much as you like. Can't speak to PoP08 since I haven't played that yet. However, I only consider that to be true when you can choose any point at any time. Something like Bastion, Dragon Age: Origins or Super Mario 64 only let you choose the order ob objectives in a limited amount of areas at controlled intervals, hinging on your progression in the game overall.

This is all really confusing.